Thursday, March 02, 2006

True Confessions

My fingers are trembling as I begin this post. You see, I am preparing to bear my soul. My heart races; I brace myself. I wonder what others will think of me after I make this confession.

Oh, my.

You see, I have an addiction. You see, I am . . . oh, crap, I don't know if I can go through with this.

Deep breath.

You see, I am a bibliophile. I said it. I love books. Not just reading them, but owning them as well. My compulsion started in college. I had experimented with books recreationally – with my friends – but now I had to purchase books for class. And I also, as fortune would have it, I fell into the wrong crowd. I had friends who enjoyed going from bookstore to bookstore, binging on "Book and Paper" shows.

Pretty soon I was buying books instead of beer (guys will buy the beer). And I knew it was becoming a problem when I started purchasing books by category – not just poetry, but my own brand of eclectic poetry. For the bibliophile, books are like drugs or alcohol. I have a book of poems written by an English clockmaker – that seems to be a kind of micro-brew. I tasted his words, and while curling up with that early 19th century book, I know that few have tasted those words on one's lips in Georgia. It's not great poetry, but it reminds me of Robert Burns' "Ode to A Louse" (not the quality but the strangeness).

And when I felt dirty, I got into the heavy stuff – romance novels, the crack cocaine of the book world. You can start a romance novel on a Friday night, and by 10:30, you feel the effects – the warm feeling "down there," the emptiness one feels afterwards, and the shame of polishing off the paperback in an evening. Oh, the shame. Now that I have written that, perhaps romance novels are like junk food more than crack cocaine. Because of the guilt and emptiness. Still a vice.

Then there are certain classics – like Moliere. They are like the port wine of books. It is something I enjoy, but as I am reading it, I know there are subtleties that I miss. There is humor lost on a 21st century gal. Plus, like a good port, I can sip and put it down, not needing to finish the bottle.

When I started collecting the same book but different imprinting, judging the bindings, scouring for first editions, I knew I was hopelessly lost in my addiction. Hubbie and I are childless and we don't have cable, so when he is not pawing my privates, we read in bed. And when he is romantic, he reads my poetry to me. Goodness, he is my co-dependent spouse.

Dr. ~Deb, a new reader of mine, probably has some experience in addiction, but probably not this particular addiction. I know I have a problem, but I just don't want to stop. I like the feeling I get when lost in a book. Or just looking for books in an old bookstore.

I have a problem. I am a bibliophile. And I (sob) can't help myself. I am so ashamed. But the books feel so good.


Miranda said...

Hey, there could be alot worse addictions. I love reading erotic novels. My ex was a bibliophile, I had to get rid of 25 boxes of his hard cover books, there were over 600 books. My collections not as big anymore, smirks, thanks to online erotica. lol

Mike said...

The addiction you have confessed to is an addiction more people should have.

Although I may pass on the romance novels

Joe said...

Confession is good for the soul, Leesa. Don't you feel so much better after having gotten that off of your chest?

Prata said...

I thought we were tryin' to get things ON her chest? You're messin' up the PLAN man!


And by things I mean hands. I'm just sayin'.

Um...why? said...

I agree with Mike, others could use such an addiction. I could read more, it would be good for me. Reading is good for the brain, I don't think it much matters what it is you are reading, but I would also pass on the romance stuff.

Sounds like a healthy habit, which your hubby shares to some extent, and sometimes ends in carnal adventures...sounds good to me!

Shannon said...

I was all set to hear this juicy, horrible, embarrassing confession.. (My heart was racing as well)..Books? LMAOOO..

Well good for you! I would love to have an addiction to books! Like Mike said more people should have an addiction to books (And I am one of them) lol...

Tai said...

My name is Tai...and I LOVE this post!

I, too, am a bibliophile.

But gosh, golly, I've never indulged in the dreaded romance novel yet (Though I'm sure it's only a matter of time.)

I'll never be cured.
The best I can do is try to cut down to a book or two a day.

I feel the shakes coming on already.

TrappedInColorado said...

What a clever and humourous post! It made me laugh and smile and that automatically makes you my hero! Plus, I buy books. Never check them out at the library. Has nothing to do with a ~Deb type germaphobe.. just like to have them. Hello, my name is Tom/Mike/George, and I'm also a bibliophile. Whew. Not alone. Feels good!

Sheen V said...

When I come across a book that picks my interest I'll buy it. I'm into science fiction and space history. It is very interesting to read a book on the current state of the space program that was written in the early '60's and where they thought we'd be by now. Oh, and I just love the first editions of the Star Trek books from the early '70's!

Edtime Stories said...

I understand the addiction but I loved the way you wrote this. You are so talented in weaving this story.
I know some old bookstores that are like street dealers. Enjoy the addiction and embrace the high.

~Deb said...

I definitely heard of worse addictions.

Hi my name is Deb, and I'm a blogaholic.

Hi Debbieeeeeeeeeee...."

Get me? ;)

Leesa said...

miranda: I completely agree; I have had other addictions in the past ....

mike: I have not read a romance novel in ages. But when I was a teenager, I would read them when sunbathing. I am sure you did the same.

joe: yes, I feel much better.

prata: funny, sweetie!

david: I actually think it does matter what you read.

shannon: sorry for the lack of real dirt. I have other confessions but wanted to play lite today.

tai: some romance novels are awful. Some are okay. Two books per day. Wow!

TrappedInColorado: thanks. It was fun to write. I have been too serious lately.

sheen: I am not a big sc-fi reader, but I have read a little from that genre.

ed: thanks, sweetie!

~deb: I can tell, sweetie, I can tell.

Georgiapeach said...

lol! :)
That's not bad Leesa. Reading is a pleasant hobby. I am going to read one of your favorite books. Do you have a suggestion?

Bruce said...

You're a brave, brave soul, Leesa. I know that was hard, because I, too, am a bibliophile. I was once ashamed of my addiction, but as time went on, I realized that I shouldn't be. I now wear the badge proudly.

Um...why? said...

Really, that sounds like a great post right there Leesa...what you should and shouldn't read...hhmmmm.

Leesa said...

GP: That is a tough one. One of my favorites is "When We Were Colored," by Clifton Taulbert. I absolutely love the way he writes.

bruce: it is a lot safer than being a drunk!

david: perhaps I will post about it next week.

QChique said...

Oh. Your great post has touched very important part of me and moved me to make a confession for I too am a Bibliophile. I am and have been so addicted for such a long time now I fear there is no hope for me. I haven't fallen into the Romance Novels yet, but I am sure there is time for that further depravity.

Now that I think of it many of the defining moments of many relationships have centered around books. I remember the day clearly and often with great bitterness when I finally trusted the man who would become my husband enough to show him my greatest treasure. It was with great trembling and anticipation that I cradled before him my signed First Edition copy of Lew Wallace's "Ben Hur" It had been gifted me by a wonderful mentor of mine as a teen who had been a WWII veteran.

My man acted indifferently and said "What's so special about that." Crushed I was. So I told him thinking maybe he would at least be impressed by that, roughly the cost of this book if it were to be sold. "Well then why don't you?" "Don't I what?" "Sell it!" I think that was the first time that man made me cry.

Great, but GREAT post. Thanks!

Lee said...

Careful, you'll get booked for reading in a built up area.

Great post. Books are good.

Monica said...

Oh Leesa, I wish I could help you, but it is cheaper for me to buy books than to check them out from the library...I can't bear to return them and they blend into my shelves to hide...I dream of the book that got away...the 70's german outdoor furniture for DIYers book with the colapsable table, the children's garden book with the sunflowers planted in the boots...I long for them, dream about breaking into Offutt AFB and raiding their library for these treasures. When we moved and had to send most of our things to storage, the books made me would I live without my cookbooks, gardening, how-to, refrence, and art? The fiction I knew I could live without for a while....but Nigella's recipes? No...I brought 2 bookshelves with us, and left behind the chairs.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

I am ALSO addicted to books. I have so many....I think it is an okay thing as long as I don't go overboard and have to get a second job to pay for the books!!!!


Georgiapeach said...

I just remembered last night that you emailed me a short story. I'll read that first. Then I will read Taulbert's. :) Thanks Leesa.

Leesa said...

qchique: I loved your story. Sorry you were crushed.

lee: funny comment. But I wouldn't mind the judge throwing the book at me.

monica: I used to be able to go to a library, but now if I do, I jot down the names of books I want to buy.

dr ~deb: buying the books is not the problem. Buying the bookcases is.

GP: When I was growing up, I loved "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" by Judy Blume. But I assume you were looking for a more adult book. Now I want to spend a couple of hours with Ms. Blume.

Mark said...

Sorry, leesa... if you are a bibliophile, I can't help you, since I suffer the same affliction. Maybe we need to compare our libraries...

LMizzle said...

I am a bibliophile too! I don't like books from the library because it feels like someone has already somewhat "lived" through the book before me.

It's like going through someone's house when they aren't home.

Lillie said...

In a fit of conscience and a strong desire to become normal, I've emptied the bookcases in my library and turned it into a dining room, where I will try to cope with non-fiction people. I've torn up my discount card from Barnes and Noble. Wanna buy my books?